Legal Issues of Hiring Contractors for Writing, Graphics and Creative Services

QUESTION: “If I’m hiring online tutors as independent contractors to do part-time work through my own website, what are implications and legal issues?”

“How does hiring independent contractors work if they’re doing this kind of online work but live in a different country? What kinds of regulations should I worry about? What are critical things I should put in my employment contracts? How can I keep things as simple, cheap, and efficient as possible?”

Los Angeles, CA


It’s very common to hire independent contractors, even those based outside the U.S. to perform website services, i.e. writing website copy, creating graphics, and even writing website code.

The legal issues implicated are (non-exhaustive list):
A) Who own’s the copyrights and trademark rights to the creative work created by the independent contractor?
B) Is the contractor paid in lump sum, flat fee, and/or revenue share?
C) Depending on the country of the independent contractor, are there any international issues that may limit your rights to the intellectual property?
D) Is the independent contractor providing original work for you, and not copying it from another source on the web?
E) Tax implications, employment compliance implications. How do these apply to the deals you’re making?

The best practice is to consult with an attorney, and have a clear “list of services” that the contractor will provide for you, the agreed upon fee, and the manner in which the services will be provided. From there, your attorney can advise you and draft contracts that reflect the best practices in due diligence when it come to hiring independent contractors of this nature.

4 Lawyers agreed with this answer.

Screen Shot 2014-09-21 at 11.16.38 PMAuthor: David N. Sharifi, Esq. is a Los Angeles based intellectual property attorney and technology startup consultant with focuses in entertainment law, emerging technologies, trademark protection, and “the internet of things”. David was recognized as one of the Top 30 Most Influential Attorneys in Digital Media and E-Commerce Law by the Los Angeles Business Journal in 2014. Office: Ph: 310-751-0181;

Disclaimer: The content above is a discussion of legal issues and general information; it does not constitute legal advice and should not be used as such without seeking professional legal counsel. Reading the content above does not create an attorney-client relationship. All trademarks are the property of L.A. Tech & Media Law Firm or their respective owners. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved. 

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